Instrumentation scope turnaround MLO plant Shell completed within planned time frame

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Save time and improve efficiency with Yokogawa's Asset Management solution

How do you stay on top of your business? This can only be achieved by regularly investing in innovation and improvement. For Shell's MLO plant in Moerdijk, the maintenance stop is the right time to do that. Yokogawa's Plant Resource Manager (PRM) is successfully implemented for a fast and efficient turnaround. This Asset Management solution is also an effective tool to proactively carry out maintenance.

Constantly renewing and improving
Moerdijk and Shell are inextricably linked for 50 years. The company produces various basic chemicals in several factories. In the MLO plant, for example, ethylene, propylene and 1.3-butadiene are produced. Shell plays an important role in process technology at this production site. In a densely populated area and with stricter environmental requirements, Shell wants to be more than just a good neighbor. The goal is simple - no objections from the surrounding area. That is why the company continually invests in innovation and improvement. 

For example, during the maintenance stop in 2019 that takes place every six years, a great efficiency leap was achieved with the maintenance of the large ethylene cracker. Gido van Riet, Head of the Instrument Engineering & Process Automation department, explains: "Some of our plants have been there for 50 years, but thanks to improvements in recent decades, they have actually changed completely. We want to continue our processes, committing ourselves to operate our plants as responsibly as possible. To make this possible, many modifications must be carried out, usually during a maintenance stop. The challenging part of my job is to find a way to carry it out as smart, efficient and quick as possible, thereby contributing to the successful operation of our plants.”

Installing and configuring thousands of instruments
The maintenance stops are large-scale operations. "Within six to ten weeks, 3,000 extra men are working and large quantities of scaffolding material are needed to get the job done. Not only does the work need to be completed quickly, it also has to maintain the highest quality. In practice, mechanical work is the priority. Subsequently, new control valves and instruments can be installed in the field, configured and incorporated into the process environment. A total of 3,000 instruments, such as pressure, temperature, flow and level gauges, as well as approximately 1,500 new valves can be installed. It is not uncommon for the mechanical work to come to a standstill, putting the work of the instrumentation team under pressure. Therefore, it is more convenient to carry out part of the work in parallel. This turned out to be possible by using Yokogawa's latest version of the Asset Management System PRM, which Shell has been using for about 10 years, in an innovative way". 

Plant Resource Manager, or PRM for short, is a software program designed to carry out maintenance in process environments as efficiently as possible. The program centrally manages large amounts of maintenance information and other types of data originating from process monitoring, control and production equipment. This allows equipment and instrumentation to be monitored and data to be made available to continuously improve maintenance and the process. Since the last turnaround, PRM is also used to visualize and configure equipment and instruments remotely.

Saving time and money through PRM deployment
"By using PRM also in the run-up to and during the maintenance stop, the work on instruments has been carried out considerably faster. Normally every instrument and every valve in the field must be configured and adjusted, now we were able to do this centrally and in advance. Without being affected by weather conditions, the work could be carried out from behind the PC. This also makes it safer and more cost-efficient for our colleagues, as they need to go into the field less often, which also saves time. Only after the instruments have been set up and adjusted, they enter the field. For us, this means a considerable increase in efficiency: for the first time, the work was even ready before the mechanical part of the stop had been completed! As far as we know, this plant is the only one of all Shell’s plants that has achieved this", explains Gido van Riet enthusiastically. "The only thing that was needed in the field was running tests. Whereas in the past, specialists spent two days configuring and adjusting seven ultrasonic flow meters. In the new situation, set-up only requires half a day. Not only does this save valuable time, it also eliminates the entire flow of permits required to work on equipment in the field. The nice thing is that all the information needed to set up instruments and valves is already present in PRM and therefore only needs to be reused".

When configuring equipment remotely, the template function offered by PRM is conveniently used. Device templating within PRM ensures efficient distribution of shared parameters across multiple devices. "Up to 100 or even as many as 500 parameters can be set on some devices, most of the time only about 10 are really important. These are now recorded in a template that is then sent to all the instruments involved. In this way, there is a significant improvement in efficiency in one go, with everything set according to Shell’s defined standards. Moreover, when installing a valve, for example, a ‘history’ is created. This ideal enhancement situation will be used in the future to be able to steer the maintenance even better and to specify the scope of our maintenance".

Profitable innovation
Yokogawa's PRM forms the basis for more visibility and better insight into the instrumentation in the field. "The amount of information contained in PRM enables us to make more accurate predictions and, as a result, to better manage our stock. It also provides insights that you cannot see with the naked eye. This is a nice step towards further improvement," says Gido van Riet. "The industry is currently working on a major renewal, and programs such as Yokogawa's PRM are helping us to make that renewal as efficient as possible. The impact on the MLO plant is large. In addition to improving maintenance efficiency - we can now replace parts exactly on time - it also shortens the turnaround time and enables us to supply more products. This saves a lot of money, guarantees quality and ensures a smoother start-up with fewer surprises. A great example of profitable innovation!”

Yes, I am interested
Would you like more information? Please ask your local contact person of Yokogawa or contact Marketing in the Netherlands via, +31 88 464 1339.

Photo's reproduced by permission of Shell Moerdijk/Ernst Bode


  • Química

    Chemical plants rely on continuous and batch production processes, each posing different requirements for a control system. A continuous process calls for a robust and stable control system that will not fail and cause the shutdown of a production line, whereas the emphasis with a batch process is on having a control system that allows great flexibility in making adjustments to formulas, procedures, and the like. Both kinds of systems need to be managed in available quality history of product, and to be able to execute non-routine operations. With its extensive product portfolio, experienced systems engineers, and global sales and service network, Yokogawa has a solution for every plant process.

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